Nedarim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Ten

 

Introduction

According to the Talmud, the Samaritans descend from a group of non-Jews brought to Samaria (the north of Israel) by the Assyrians, see II Kings 17.  They are called by the rabbis Cutheans because many of them came from Cuta. There is a debate in the Talmud whether or not there conversion was sincere.  They seem to have partially assimilated into Israel. The main difference between Samaritans and other Israelites is that their Temple was, and remains to this day, on Mt. Gerizim.  They do not recognize Jerusalem as a place of importance.  Besides this difference, they observed many commandments as did the other Israelites, certainly those in the Bible but even some not mentioned in the Bible.  Our mishnah reflects these similarities and differences between Israelites and Samaritans.  [For more information on the Samaritans see either the Encyclopedia Judaica, or check out The Jewish Encyclopedia, which can be found for free on-line at www.jewishencyclopedia.com.]

 

Mishnah Ten

1)                     He who vows [not to benefit] from those who rest on the Sabbath, is forbidden [to benefit] both from Israelites and Samaritans (Cutheans). 

2)                     If he vows [not to benefit] from garlic eaters, he may not benefit from Israelites and Samaritans (Cutheans). 

3)                     From those who go up to Jerusalem, he is forbidden [to benefit] from Israelites but from Samaritans (Cutheans) he is permitted.

 

Explanation

Section one:  Samaritans and Israelites both kept the Sabbath, and therefore one who swears not to receive benefit from “those who rest on the Sabbath” may benefit from neither.  However, he may benefit from non-Jews who do not rest on the Sabbath. 

Section two:  According to most commentators, this refers to a custom to eat garlic on Friday evening in order to act as an aphrodisiac, for sexual relations, which are recommended on Friday night.  Evidently, Samaritans observed this custom as well.

Section three:  As stated in the introduction, Samaritans did not worship in Jerusalem.  Therefore, one who swears not to receive benefit from those who “go up to Jerusalem” may receive benefit from Samaritans. 

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